Interview: Souls Go To 'Etheres' from Source Point Press
Mar 21, 2023
Interview by Troy-Jeffrey Allen
Where do souls go when they don't belong anywhere else?
In comic shops this week, Etheres is a harrowing new series featuring lush art by Dennis Menheere (The Undoing Well) and written by Anas Abdulhak (Eleutheromania, Objects in the Mirror). This prestige format story invites readers into the unknown and perilous world of the afterlife.
In the following interview, writer Anas Abdulhak explains tells us more about the main character Valerie, the world of Etheres, and why Valerie deserves to be there.
Etheres is a very introspective concept. Can you set the stage for new readers?
The elevator pitch for Etheres has always been “where do souls go when they don’t belong anywhere else?” but it’s about where we go when we don’t believe we’re worthy of anything else. At its core, Etheres is a story of self-loathing and tackling that hatred head-on when forced to reflect on who we are.
Set in a fantastical world with breathing forests, lakes of silver, and mountains made of skin. Etheres is a dark, twisted version of Alice in Wonderland. Our main character Valerie arrives in a strange unfamiliar world where trials and tribulations await. These trials are designed to test her character and force her to look back on who she was in her lifetime and why she believes she belongs in Etheres. Accompanied of course by a Cheshire Cat-inspired figure that is known only as The Creature: A horned feline with scales for fur and a wicked tongue.
Does the entirety of the story take place in the afterlife?
Sprinkled every few pages within Etheres are splash pages that contain flashes into Valerie’s past life. These flashes are mostly vague and designed to give some insight into her background while also giving room for the reader to place themselves in her shoes and fill in the blanks of her memory with what they see fit. Each of these pages contains a poem that also further explores Valerie’s pain and all that led her to ETHERES.
What can you tell us about Valerie? Why do we follow her through this story?
Valerie is a reflection of us. She’s a vessel for everyone who has ever had trouble looking into the mirror, who has had to deal with harmful perceptions regarding who they are and their place in the world. And while the story of why she ends up in Etheres is unique to her, the pain she feels is universal. So I wanted to give space for the readers to identify parts of her pain within themselves so that her journey becomes more personal.
You’re working with artist Dennis Menheere on this project. What made Dennis the right collaborator for this?
The world of Etheres and Valerie’s story was something I wanted to work on for quite a long time. But it wasn’t until I saw Dennis’ work did I know it was the right time to tackle this story. He applies a heavy emphasis on color as a storytelling tool which resonated with me. The way he does facial expressions, the way he expresses anguish. It was all the perfect fit for this world. And I can’t imagine myself working on this book with anyone else.
Looking forward, what can readers expect from Etheres?
Avoiding spoiler territory here, while Etheres was meant as a one-shot, the ending leaves room for more exploration of our version of the afterlife as the reader will see in the last few pages. I think down the line, I would love to return to this world and ask more questions about the human condition and tackle more themes of love, fear, and everything in between. But it has to be the right story. As of right now, you can expect lots more stories in other worlds that ask hard-hitting questions and confront difficult truths about humanity. That’s always something I love writing about and exploring.
In terms of audience, who is Etheres for?
I wouldn’t say this book is for absolutely everyone. But I will say anyone reading it will find something different within it to explore and leave the world of Etheres with something unique to them. However, if you enjoy compelling stories about the afterlife such as Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder’s A.D. After Death or Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones that explores what it means to be alive. Then Etheres is going to be right up your alley.
Etheres is available this week at your local comic shop. Reserve your copy with PREVIEWSworld Pullbox.
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Following Valerie's passing, she finds herself navigating an unknown and perilous world. She tells her story through poetry and narration as she experiences her surroundings while also recalling her past life, her trauma, and why she believes she deserves to be there.
Writer Anas Abdulhak brings you this harrowing tale of the afterlife with groundbreaking art by Dennis Menheere, edits by "Color of Always" creator Michele Abounader and letters by Ringo-Nominated DC Hopkins.
Troy-Jeffrey Allen is the producer and co-host of PREVIEWSworld Weekly. His comics work includes MF DOOM: All Caps, Public Enemy's Apocalypse '91, Fight of the Century, the Harvey Award-nominated District Comics, and the Ringo Awards-nominated Magic Bullet.